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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Melissa Hortman (DFL)

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House DFL legislators announce economic aid plan for destroyed, damaged businesses

Monday, June 15, 2020

Saint Paul, Minn. -- Today, House DFL legislators who represent the most impacted areas from civil unrest announced the PROMISE Act -- a comprehensive plan to help businesses rebuild and recover, many of which are Black, immigrant, and communities of color-owned.

PROMISE stands for Providing Resources, Opportunity and Maximizing Investments in Striving Entrepreneurs. The PROMISE Act is a top special session priority for DFL legislators and is inspired by what many saw and heard from community members and business owners during tours of property damage in Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

"We must take immediate action to support and rebuild our wounded communities. The Promise Act will support our communities in an equitable and holistic way so we can rebuild for and by the community," said Rep. Hodan Hassan (DFL - Minneapolis). "These commercial hubs are the lifeblood of our minority and immigrant communities. By rebuilding with an intentional focus on equity we can avoid the devastating effects of gentrification."

The legislation would:

  • Create a special panel to review cases and provide direct compensation to impacted individuals.
  • Partner with cities and community organizations to create economic relief programs for impacted businesses and organizations.
  • Give local units of government flexibility and tools to prevent gentrification.
  • Direct the Minnesota Department of Commerce to assist business owners, and require insurance companies to notify the department of any rejected claims.
  • Help with the rising cost of leases for eligible residential and commercial properties.
  • Eliminate the sales tax on the purchase of construction materials used to rebuild damaged or destroyed properties. 
  • Provide property and sales tax cuts for eligible properties.
  • Establish a “Metropolitan Area Redevelopment Corporation” to create a long-term plan for equity-driven redevelopment and transformation.

“While we work on long-needed and overdue racial justice and police accountability legislation, we must also help our impacted businesses and communities recover and rebuild,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler. “These are strong economic and cultural centers of our cities, and we have to help them in a way that promotes equity and prevents gentrification. The extensive property damage and loss in these communities requires us to take urgent action and deliver results.”

“Our communities and these businesses, many of them minority-owned and already struggling due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, need resources to rebuild,” said House Speaker Melissa Hortman. “Today, we’re putting forward a comprehensive plan to help those impacted, that puts equity at the center of our recovery efforts. The Legislature must move quickly to help these communities recover. I want to thank Majority Leader Winkler for agreeing to lead this important work, and the Minneapolis and St. Paul legislative delegations and city staff for their collaborative work on this proposal.”